"Mostly we've cloistered young people over here and older people over there. So, are we getting younger people and older people together in meaningful ways? It's an interesting question. Ask yourself, do I encounter and interact with people much older than me? If not, what an I missing? If yes, what are they bringing to my life?"
— Andrew Belser, professor of movement, voice and acting in the School of Theatre; and director of the Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI), presented "FaceAge: Empathy Rising Across Generations" at Penn State Altoona Feb. 8.
As the 2017-18 Penn State Laureate, Belser is touring his award-winning "FaceAge" exhibition — a multimedia video installation created from cross-generational conversations — throughout Pennsylvania, including community engagement, research and curricular components intended to facilitate intergenerational connections.
"Why are we afraid of aging? I think we have some work to do in educating cross-generationally what aging really is. The way we've designed our community has put us out of touch with each other. We do not have a way for younger people to interact over and over again in meaningful ways, with older people. That’s the problem, we don’t get into the same place together. So I’m going to suggest that intergenerational interaction might feel like it’s just human-to-human and it can happen anywhere — it can — but it has to be designed. You have to design space for intergenerational interaction to happen; otherwise, it will not happen."